Have you ever noticed that hope can actually be painful?

One of my students turned in a writing assignment last week that positively broke my heart.  She is a brilliant young writer, one with passion and earnestness and an astonishing gift for expressing herself.  To protect her identity (some of my students have happened across my blog), I won’t be specific about the subject matter in her paper.  But within that paper, she made a statement that I found both beautiful and tragic.

“I don’t think I could handle the hope.”

She was addressing something which, at one level, she desperately wants.  But she fundamentally does not trust that it would last if she were to receive it.  So, in this paper, she expresses her preference to never receive it at all.  She couldn’t “handle the hope.”

Even though I am confident that Pete will not leave me, I have to remember that he is human.  Anything is possible.  He could choose to leave; he could be taken from me in some sort of accident or illness (in fact, unless I die first, that’s just a matter of time).

I cannot let the uncertainties in life consume my thoughts and dictate my actions, or why would I ever get out of bed?  (Perhaps this is an element of depression–an acute awareness of one’s own hopelessness, and the inability to shake it off.)

It seems to me that the only hope that is not painful at some level is the hope we have in Christ; it is the only hope that is absolutely assured.  It does not depend on circumstance.  On weather.  On the ever-shifting whims of individuals (including oneself).  It depends only upon the power and benevolence of a loving, eternal God.  With Him, there is “no shadow of turning.”

Rest in that hope today, no matter how hopeless or uncertain your circumstances might be.  With Him, it is safe to hope.

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